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Portal:Spain

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THE SPAIN PORTAL
EL PORTAL DE ESPAÑA

Flag Arms of Spain.svg
Location of Spain

Spain (Spanish: España), officially the Kingdom of Spain (Reino de España), is a country in southern Europe. It is located on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. The country consists of Peninsular Spain which is located between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, two archipelagos, one in each sea, and two autonomous cities in North Africa. The mainland area of Spain is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the southern and eastern areas, the Cantabric Sea to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Spain is organised as a parliamentary democracy and is a constitutional monarchy. Spain has been a member of the European Union since 1986 and is a developed country, with the ninth largest economy in the world and fifth largest in the EU. With an area of 504,030 km², Spain is the second largest country in Western Europe (behind France).

Spain flourished under the Roman empire Hispania, thus becoming one of the Empire's most important regions at the time. During the times of the Middle Ages, Spain was under Germanic rule, only later to come under the rule of the Islamic caliphate. Spain emerged as a unified country in the 15th century, following the completion of the reconquest of the Iberian peninsula in 1492. It has been an important source of influence to other regions, chiefly during the Modern Era, when it became a global empire that has left a legacy of over 500 million Spanish speakers today, making it the world's second most spoken first language.

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Bullfighting

Bullfighting or tauromachy (Spanish: toreo, corrida de toros or tauromaquia; Portuguese tourada, corrida de touros or tauromaquia) is a traditional spectacle of Spain, Portugal, some cities in southern France, and several Latin American countries. Its origin is unknown, though it has been suggested that it was originally brought to Spain by the Visigoths. A link to the old culture of Crete has also been proposed.

The tradition, as it is practiced today, involves professional performers (in Spanish toreros or matadores, in Portuguese toureiros) who execute various formal moves with the goal of appearing graceful and confident, while masterful over the bull itself. Such maneuvers are performed at close range, and conclude with the death the bull by a well-placed sword thrust as the finale. In Portugal the finale consists of a tradition called the pega, where men (Forcados) are dressed in a traditional costume of damask or velvet, with long knit hats as worn by the famous Ribatejo campinos (bull headers). Bullfighting generates heated controversy in many areas of the world, including Spain, where the "classic" bullfighting was born. Supporters of bullfighting argue that it is a culturally important tradition, while animal rights groups argue that it is a blood sport because of the suffering of the bull and horses during the bullfight.

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Alhambra
Credit: Ra-smit

The Alhambra (Arabic: الحمراء = Al-Ħamrā; literally "the red") is a palace and fortress complex of the Moorish monarchs of Granada in southern Spain (known as Al-Andalus when the fortress was constructed), occupying a hilly terrace on the southeastern border of the city of Granada.

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An artists portrait of Hernán Cortés

Hernán Cortés (also known as Hernán(do) Cortés Pizarro, 1st Marqués del Valle de Oaxaca; born 1485–December 2, 1547) was a Spanish conquistador who initiated the conquest of the Aztec Empire on behalf of Charles V, king of Castile and Holy Roman Emperor, in the early 16th century. Cortés was part of the generation of Spanish colonizers that began the first phase of the Spanish colonization of the Americas.[1]

Born in Medellín, Extremadura, in Castile, to a family of lesser nobility, Cortés chose to pursue a livelihood in the New World. He went to Hispaniola and later to Cuba, where he received an encomienda and, for a short time, became alcalde (mayor) of a small town. In 1519, he was elected captain of the third expedition to the mainland, an expedition which he partly funded. His enmity with the governor of Cuba, Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar, resulted in the latter recalling the expedition at the last moment, an order which Cortés ignored. Arriving on the continent, Cortés executed a successful strategy of allying with some indigenous peoples against others. He also used a native woman, Doña Marina, as interpreter; she would later bear Cortés a son. When the Governor of Cuba sent emissaries to arrest Cortés, he fought them and won, using the extra troops as reinforcements. Cortés wrote letters directly to the king asking to be acknowledged for his successes instead of punished for mutiny. After he overthrew the Aztec empire, Cortés was awarded the title of Marqués del Valle de Oaxaca, while the more prestigious title of Viceroy was given to a high-ranking nobleman, Antonio de Mendoza. Cortés returned to Spain in 1541 where he died peacefully but embittered.

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The Alcazaba with the Roman theatre in the foreground

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Federico García Lorca

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